Are Customers redefining your business model without your knowledge? Non-profit business models are in the midst of a massive shift and most organizations are not prepared for the imminent changes to come. Higher Ed is an excellent example.
Higher Ed has been focused on producing degrees in a liberal arts setting because that is what academia has always done to prepare students. That historical mindset does not satisfy current demand from customers who have more power than ever before.
- Students want to graduate with good paying jobs in their fields of interest
- Parents want their kids to obtain jobs that will launch their professional careers.
- Employers want to hire graduates with good skills, character, and the ability to hit the ground running.
All three customers have one thing in common - they are career focused.
Historically, we could argue that students and parents were degree focused; and that it mattered more for a student to earn a degree verses obtain a job but those days are over. In response, the business model of higher education is shifting its focus to fulfilling career objectives.
This seemingly small shift in end-results drastically challenges the current business model, culture, and philosophy of higher education. Many college majors could be misaligned with the future, which is why we are starting to see a rise in “centers of excellence.” These centers are ways to build educational programming geared towards career placement and employer partnerships. But the evolution of the Higher Ed business model is happening too slowly and many schools in their race to relevancy will fail because they were not able to change quickly enough to meet this new type of demand.
Bottom line – shifts in customer demands/expectations are forcing shifts in business models across all nonprofit sectors, not just higher education. Crafting strategic plans, evolving business models, and successfully implementing changes will be the key to future relevance and viability.